A native of Toronto, Canada, Andy Ballantyne began learning music in the Toronto public school system, studying clarinet and saxophone. He soon developed an interest in jazz and studied privately with Woody Herman alumnus Steve Lederer. Later teachers included Pat Labarbara, Alex Dean and Mike Murley. Exposure to recordings of the Stan Kenton Band, Nimmons and Nine Plus Six, and especially Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass fueled an early interest in composition and arranging. Andy went on to study arranging, orchestration and composition with Ron Collier at Humber College and Phil Nimmons at the University of Toronto.
Andy gained his first professional experience at Expo’86 in Vancouver playing daily for five months with the Humber College big band under the direction of Ron Collier, and went on to play in the Ron Collier Jazz Orchestra up until the time of Ron’s death in 2003.
Over the past 20 years, Andy has established himself on the Toronto scene as a versatile performer on both tenor and alto saxophones, as well as a skilled woodwind doubler, arranger, composer and jazz educator